The Last Word

A Home Away From Home

IT'S the worst nightmare for a family -- a seriously ill or injured child needing short- or long-term medical attention at a hospital. But it's a reality many face every year, and there is a place that helps ease some of the stress and burden families face.

Before the installation of the equipment, anyone who wanted to open the doors had to manually do so, which was often a burden for disabled children. The new hardware makes opening doors an effortless task for the families and their children -- all it takes is a simple push of a button.

A strong body, strong mind and a safe, supportive place to grow -- that's the mission of the Ronald McDonald House of Indiana. The house, located in Indianaplois, is a home away from home for families of seriously ill or injured children seeking treatment.

Families often travel hundreds of miles to seek medical treatment for their child -- far away from the comfortable surroundings of family, friends and home.

The Indiana house is one of more than 200 Ronald McDonald houses throughout the world. Since the first Ronald McDonald House opened in 1974, more than 10 million families around the world have benefited from the home.

Opening in 1982, the Indiana house has served thousands of families during a child's medical crisis.

Able to accommodate up to 52 families per night, the 50,000 square-foot Indianapolis house has 46 family guest rooms, six apartments for transplant recovery patients and their families, 27 bathrooms, eight kitchens, five laundry rooms and two dining rooms. Also in the facility is a library, recreation and TV rooms, playroom, sunroom and an outdoor play area.

Along with the space at the house, there also are six rooms located at the Riley Hospital for Children.

Just like the other Ronald McDonald houses, the Indiana house is dependent on the generosity of donations and volunteers to keep the operation running.

Making a Donation
A big player in the security field, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies, recently helped to improve life around the house with their own contribution.

The Carmel, Ind.-based company gave the house ADA-accessible hardware to help wheelchair-bound guests maneuver around the home more easily.

The company installed Von Duprin EL99 electrified panic devices and LCN 4600 automatic door openers on two exterior doors, including the main entrance and two interior doors.

Before the installation of the equipment, anyone who wanted to open the doors had to manually do so, which was often a burden for disabled children. The new hardware makes opening doors an effortless task for the families and their children -- all it takes is a simple push of a button.

"Many children who are wheelchair-bound stay at the house with their parents, and many mothers who've just given birth are in wheelchairs for several days or weeks after the delivery," said Beth Johnson, executive director of the house. "Families also come to the house with clothes and supplies, which often can be large, burdensome loads."

With the new equipment installed, mobility around the house is now that much easier.

"The automatic doors have been a tremendous added feature," Johnson said. "So much so, that we wonder how we ever got along without them. Families use the doors to ease their mobility within the house."

An Easier Opening
The donation was made possible because of the relationship between the Ronald McDonald House and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). The house is located on IUPUI's campus and receives assistance from the university's campus facility services department to address maintenance issues.

Al Nichols, IUPUI's lock shop manager, identified the need to upgrade the hardware on the entryways and interior doors and approached Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies for assistance. The company's panic devices, door closers and automatic openers have been used exclusively on the IUPUI campus for the last 16 years.

"Prior to the donation, the Ronald McDonald House did not have any automatic door openers, often making it difficult for families to enter doorways while pushing wheelchairs, carrying their luggage or managing other children," said Ron Ratell, strategic business unit manager -- automated openings for Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies.

When Nichols came to the company with the idea, Rattell said there was no doubt on what to do to help.

"So, when Al Nichols recognized that automating the entrances would help families and children with disabilities to enter and maneuver around the building more easily, the decision to make the donation was simple," Rattell said.

And thanks to the generosity from Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies, life at the Ronald McDonald House of Indiana is that much easier for the children and families who depend on the home away from home.

"The Ronald McDonald House depends so heavily on the generosity of people and companies throughout the state to help us offer respite for families with children being treated at local-area hospitals," Johnson said. "We are grateful to Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies for making such a significant donation that helps ease our guests' stay. A donation like this, because of the expense and necessity, is a great benefit for families staying at the house. This helps support the families staying at the house by making their stressful days as easy and comfortable as possible."

This article originally appeared in the September 2006 issue of Security Products, pg. 147.


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